The next time Jorge Posada plays in a game for the New York Yankees, he will be nearly eight months past his 37th birthday. The next time Jorge Posada plays in a game for the New York Yankees, he will expect to be the starting catcher with three years and $39.3 million left on his contract. The next time Jorge Posada plays in a game for the New York Yankees, the debate over his contract will have more than run its course.

But let’s begin. We start prior to last season when the Yankees were hesitant to sign either of their two veteran free agents-to-be to long-term contracts. Both Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada were due for a pay raise by the end of 2007, but the Yankees, rightly concerned about their ages, opted to negotiate after the season. While Rivera had a sub-par year (for him, at least), he was handsomely rewarded and has earned his keep this season.

Posada, on the other hand, starred in a whole different tale. Jorge had a career year in 2007, turning in an MVP-caliber .338/.426/.543 line and a 154 OPS+. Always valued for his bat, Posada really took his game to the next level, and the Yanks paid dearly for it. Jorge inked a four-year, $52.4 million deal and promptly injured his throwing arm during the first game of the season.

When the Yanks signed Posada to the deal, baseball analysts were surprised. Giving a 36-year-old catcher a four-year, $52.4-million contract is hardly a sound baseball move, but the Yankees, with their deep pockets, knew they were paying for one of the team’s key leaders and offensive movers. They knew that Posada, by the end of the deal, would hardly be a viable option behind the plate, but they also knew that Posada, due to an early-career platoon with now-manager Joe Girardi, didn’t have as much wear and tear on his legs as other 36-year-old catchers.

Today, Posada’s 2008 is a far cry from his 2007. He managed just 234.2 innings behind the dish and just 195 plate appearances. His throwing, sapped by a seriously damaged shoulder, was impacted, and his power was nearly gone by the time he opted for season-ending surgery. The .268/.364/.411 is well below Jorge’s normal production levels.

Already, critics of the Posada deal are howling about the Yanks’ wasted money. What team in its right mind would ink a 36-year-old catcher to such an exorbitant deal? This injury, they say, is just indicative of things to come.

Now, I admit that a four-year deal for a catcher may not have been the wisest, but I believe, for now, that line of thinking to be spurious. Posada injured himself in a way no one expected and in a way not usually associated with aging catchers. He threw out his shoulder. It happens to outfielders and pitchers. It could happen to Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez tomorrow.

The real question concerning Posada’s deal will come in his recovery. If the doctors can clean up his labrum and if he can rehab himself back to full strength, then the deal will have looked bad for one year. If he can come back and hit, all will be forgotten. His value, after all, lies in his bat. But if this injury impacts the rest of his career, then we can bemoan the contract.

Categories : Injuries
Comments (65)
  • Tickets tonight/tomorrow
    By

    I have two Tier Reserve tickets to tomorrow afternoon’s 1 p.m. game between the Yankees and the Orioles, featuring Joba Chamberlain. I can’t make it to that game. So here’s what I’m proposing: If someone has two to tonight’s game but would rather go tomorrow, I would be open to a swap. If not, I’ll sell them later this afternoon. So stay tuned. E-mail at left or leave a note in the comments. · (15) ·

  • Cashman: Don’t hold your breath
    By

    Following last night’s loss at the hands of the Orioles, Brian Cashman addressed the circling vultures New York press corps eager for word on rumored Yankee moves. According to Pete Caldera, Cashman does not expect to make any more moves before Thursday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, but that’s just Cashman being Cashman. A Major League GM can’t come out and admit that they’re interested in and close to acquiring another player for fear of giving a potential trading partner more leverage. The Jarrod Washburn talks appear to have cooled, but I wouldn’t be surprised either way. · (56) ·

Here’s your game wrap up: At least Boston and Tampa lost as well.

But enough of that. The sooner we forget tonight’s 13-4 debacle, the better off we are. Mussina didn’t have it; David Robertson didn’t have it; Kyle Farnsworth picked a good game to give up a few runs; and the Yanks got shellacked. It happens. We move on.

So instead of waxing philosophic on the Yankee loss, how about we look at some longer-term trends from our boys in the Bronx right now? We’ll start with the offense. Offensive numbers are through Sunday night’s game.

Melky Cabrera since May 6: 275 plate appearances, .233/.283/.289
Bobby Abreu since June 1: 205 plate appearances, .258/.341/.396
Jason Giambi since June 18: 112 plate appearances, .216/.375/.364

Interestingly, Cabrera and Abreu have both been hot, short-term, as the Yankees’ bats have come alive. What these numbers tell us, however, is that with Jose Molina in the lineup perpetually, the Yankees are facing decreased overall production from a number of key offensive spots. Center field has been a black hole of offense for three quarters of the season, and Abreu has scuffled since hitting a line drive off of Nick Blackburn’s face. We all await a Jason Giambi hot streak.

On the pitching side, let’s play around with this idea. According to long-time RAB reader and frequent commenter Jamal, statistically, Edwar Ramirez is having a better season than Francisco Rodriguez. You’d never know it though because Francisco Rodriguez is challenging the all-time single-season saves record while Ramirez is just some middle reliever.

Edwar Ramirez: 38.1 IP, 21 H, 10 ER (2.35 ERA), 15 BB, 44 K. That’s 10.33 K/9 IP and a K/BB of just under 3/1.
Francisco Rodriguez: 47.1 IP, 31 H, 13 ER (2.47 ERA), 28 BB, 49 K. That’s 9.32 K/9 IP and a K/BB of 1.75/1.

Of course, where these two relievers differ is in the type of innings pitched. K-Rod has faced 127 batters in high-leverage situations while Edwar has faced just 18. To that end, K-Rod’s OPS against in those situations is actually .100 lower than Edwar’s. At the same time, K-Rod has faced opponents with a combined .754 OPS while Edwar has faced opponents with a .727 OPS. As K-Rod has pitched more innings than Edwar, he has the edge but not by much.

Now make of this what you will, but it’s interesting to see that, in age that has seen the save devalued, Rodriguez will earn a very large contract in the off-season based on that one stat. Meanwhile, Edwar Ramirez is showing that other, low-cost relievers can put up similar peripherals to the elite closers. When the Angels opt to let K-Rod walk instead of signing him to a $10-million-per-year contract, they’ll head into 2009 with a new closer, and one that will do the job just as well. Yet, teams will race to sign K-Rod. Such are the state of things.

Anyway, those are my random musings tonight after a boring Yankee loss. Feel free to muse on anything in the thread tonight. Nothing — within reason — is off-topic.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (67)

Update (10:38): Mike Ashmore’s got the word on a few promotions/demotions: Mark Melancon & Chase Wright up to Scranton, Wilkins Arias up to Trenton, Steven White down to Trenton, Eric Wordekemper down to Tampa.

Zach McAllister is your Florida State League Pitcher of the Week, Brandon Braboy took home NY-Penn League honors. Brian Baisley took home NY-PL Hitter of the Week honors for the second week in a row.

Triple-A Scranton (7-4 loss to Rochester)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 5, 3 K
Alberto Gonzalez & Ben Broussard: both 1 for 4, 1 R – Broussard hit a solo jack & committed a fielding error
Matt Carson & JD Closser: both 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Juan Miranda & Chris Stewart: both 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – Stewart doubled & scored a run
Cody Ransom: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K
Alan Horne: 1 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 0 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 16 of 43 pitches were strike (37.2%), yikes … Chad Jennings said he was on a 50-pitch count anyway
Chris Britton: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K – 25 of 38 pitches were strikes (65.8%
Brian Bruney: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HB – threw one pitch, hit former Trenton cleanup hitter Randy Ruiz in the back of the head, and was ejected … Ruiz charged the mound, but never made it to Bruney
Billy Traber: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP – allowed Bruney’s runner to score
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (35)

So the Yanks 8-game winning streak came to an abrupt, but predictable end last night. Tell me that game didn’t have that “eh, we’ve won 8 in row, we can mail this one in” feel to it right from the start. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.

The Yanks have lost 5 or 9 to the O’s this year, getting outscored 46-35 in the process, but they haven’t played each other since a three game set at the end of May. The O’s are 8-15 this month, and have lost 5 of their last 6. Their staff has a 5.85 ERA since the break, and tonight’s starter, Jeremy Guthrie, has an 8.10 career ERA in Yankee Stadium. Moose has a .588 winning percentage against his former team. This sounds too easy, so you know what that means…

1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. X Nady VI, LF
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C

And on the mound, Mike “why are you surprised? I’ve won 263 games in my career, bitches” Mussina.

Notes: This series will be a nice test for new addition Damaso Marte; lefties Nick Markakis & Aubrey Huff have combined for 96 XBH and a 133 OPS+ this year as the O’s 3-4 hitters (yikes) … still no progress on the Jarrod Washburn front, apparently we bloggers are to blame … Jose Molina has caught all but one game since the break … the last time Moose faced the O’s, it got ugly quick … apparently someone actually wants LaTroy Hawkins on their team…

Update by Joe: Jorge will have surgery on his shoulder, ending his season. At this point, it’s for the better.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (347)

The New Stadium Looms

Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News (and one of the newest additions to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame on Friday) has the latest on the Yankee Stadium funding scheme. Congress, he reports, is looking at the valuation the city and team put on the land for the new Stadium. A few representatives charge that the Yanks and New York may have overvalued the land to float more bonds than they should have.
Gonzalez reports:

A Congressional committee has launched a probe into whether the city and Yankees wildly inflated the value of the site for the team’s new stadium to float nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) last week demanded “specific documents and reports” that could show the city claimed the land beneath the new Yankee stadium was worth nearly seven times its true value.

The massive switcheroo allowed the city to sell $941 million in bonds for the stadium, which must by law be linked to a site’s actual value. That means taxpayers are getting rooked because bondholders avoid paying tax on the interest they earn – and it could jeopardize the financing of the whole project.

Kucinich, who heads the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is zeroing in on dramatically different estimates the city offered for the stadium land – one of $275 per square foot and another of just $45. A hearing is set for September. “There’s no way vacant land in the Bronx is worth $275 a square foot,” said a veteran city assessor, who asked not to be identified.

According to one survey — that conducted by the city — the parkland in the Bronx was worth $204 million or $275 per square foot. But in other documents, the Parks Document said the land was worth $45 per square foot. With unnamed Finance Department officials alleging something akin to fraud, this story could get interesting.

In the end, odds are that nothing will come of this. The new stadium is nearly finished; the old one is destined for the wrecking ball in a few months; and nothing short of an act of God is really going to stop that now. However, as more and more information has come to light, it seems clear that taxpaying New Yorkers got a raw deal on the Stadium. I’ll be curious to read the book on the history of this project that someone will write in a few years. I can’t imagine the Yanks will come out in a positive light.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
Comments (13)
  • Hughes’ return delayed
    By

    Phil Hughes’ return to game action after missing three months with a fractured rib is going to have to wait one more day because today’s Gulf Coast League game was postponed due to rain. I’m guessing they’ll just push him back to tomorrow, and push Carl Pavano’s scheduled rehab appearance back to Wednesday, assuming he doesn’t give himself a concussion brushing his teeth first.

    I apologize if I gave you a heart attack with the title.

    Update (2:00): Nevermind, looks like he’s going to make the 35 minute trip with the High-A Tampa Yanks and pitch tonight in Lakeland instead. The rain is supposed to let up a little later tonight.

    Update (2:25): Scratch that. Both Hughes & Pavano will pitch tomorrow for Low-A Charleston.
    · (51) ·

  • Xavier Nady VII
    By

    Tyler Kepner has an amusing piece up about one of the newest Yankees. Xavier Nady’s wife just gave birth to the couple’s first child about two weeks ago. The son’s name is Xavier Nady, making him the seventh consecutive male in the Nady family to carry the name. That’s a long dynasty. · (27) ·

  • What do you take us for? A fool?
    By

    According to Kat O’Brien, the Mariners must think the Yankees are complete and utter fools. A few days after acquiring Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for pennies on the dollar, the Mariners are holding back on dealing all of Jarrod Washburn’s contract to the Yanks because they want Hank Steinbrenner to step in and demand the Yanks acquire the starter. Clearly, the Mariners have not been paying attention. While Hanks is adept at running his mouth, all his words do are garner headlines. No moves or signings have been consummated or rushed after Hank issues his diatribes. It’s actually rather effective, and the Mariners are deluding themselves if they feel Hank is going to cause a sea change in thinking over Jarrod Washburn. MLBTR speculates that the M’s want Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera. · (115) ·